Thursday, September 27, 2007


Idol tag bags band fans

Calcutta,Sep27: After growing Sony Television’s audience, Indian Idol Prashant Tamang is doing the same for the Calcutta police band — with a mike, not gun, in hand.
With Puja round the corner, Bengalis in the US and Hong Kong are making a beeline for the Calcutta police band to get it to perform at their festivities. The band has also received requests from Nepal, where Tamang is now a national hero.
“Several Bengalis in Hong Kong and the US have requested the Calcutta police orchestra to perform at their Durga puja functions there,” the special additional commissioner of police, Zulfiquar Hasan, told Metro on Wednesday.
“We are happy that our band has become so popular following Prashant Tamang’s victory in Indian Idol 3. The NRIs want our band to lend a Bengali touch to their festivities,” added Hasan.
The rise in the band’s popularity and demand has been in tune with Tamang’s success in the talent show. As early as last month, a women’s organisation from Nepal had invited the band to perform at a cultural event in the Himalayan kingdom in December.
But for Calcutta police, it’s not easy saying ‘yes’ to all these invitations. “For that, we have to take permission from the Centre. We have already informed the state home department and they have assured us of help,” said an IPS officer at Lalbazar.
“When a representative from the Nepal-based women’s organisation came to us with the request, we had to ask her to wait, as a government clearance was required. The organisation wants to felicitate the band, especially Prashant Tamang,” Hasan said.
Tamang has won a Rs 1-crore music contract with Sony, which has prompted rumours about him quitting the police job, as he cannot accept the money without permission from the state government.
Moreover, he has to take a year-long leave for accepting the contract. “According to the rules, he has to take permission from the government. The contract is only for a year and we are hopeful that he will be granted special leave for that period. He has said he wants to continue with his job and we are very happy. He will be back in Calcutta next week,” said police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee.